Wearing My Emotions

dads sweater:watch

After my dad passed away, years ago, my mom handed me the wool sweater he wore daily. For him, it was a source of warmth and comfort. “Do you think Rudy would like this?” she asked me. I was certain that Rudy would indeed like the sweater. What she may not have realized is that I loved it. Wanted it for myself. When I returned home later that day, I mentioned to Rudy that my mom thought he might like the sweater. He reached for it just as I stretched out my arm toward him, willing it over. He slipped one arm in, then the other, knowing immediately it was too snug for his comfort. “Ah, too bad,” I said. Yet, I was happy. That meant the Irish cardigan would belong solely to me.

I have always loved the fact that the sweater was not something that had been stashed away in a drawer back at my dad’s house, an old treasure or something; but rather a valuable piece of clothing that would be a part of my life, throughout my days. A reminder of my dad, a person I adored.

About a week later, I walked into my mom’s house wearing the sweater. “Well, it didn’t fit Rudy. So, I am going to keep it,” I said, big smile on my face. “Oh, I like it on you!” she stated. Then, she handed me a watch. The watch that had been given to my dad, as a retirement gift, from his position as a college professor. “Since you collect watches, I figured you’d like to add this to your collection.” She placed it in my open hand. An Omega. A watch that works with the rhythm of my pulse, keeping not only track of time, but the month and the date as well. I flipped it over. My dad’s name was inscribed on the back. “Thank you, Mom. I love it. Just like I love Dad’s sweater.” I hugged her small frame gently.

To this day, I wear both items. The watch regularly. The sweater a cold winter days. Both gently soothe the emotions of my heart.

A Man and His Computers


Repost from 3½ years ago because… I was reminded of the story I told (below) of a time when Rudy was working and living in Arkansas… and, similar to back then, today he was, again, in desperate need of a new computer…

hp computer

December 2012

Rudy stood in the small kitchen, bent over, one hand resting on his hip, the other wiping away the tears in his eyes. Brad had just presented him with a laptop computer.

Not long before that presentation, Brad and I arrived for a our two-week visit with Rudy in Arkansas. After setting our luggage in the appropriate rooms, and grabbing a hot cup of coffee, the three of us sat together on the couch and simply talked. Feeling excited, both about seeing his dad and the unexpected surprise hidden inside my backpack, Brad began a conversation about the necessity of a new computer for Rudy to stay in touch because, for months, Rudy would casually mention that the 6 year old laptop he’d been using was beginning to malfunction, making it difficult to even log on.

“Dad, seriously, you need a new computer.”
“No I don’t. I only used that one to check on sports,” Rudy answered as he pointed to the now nonfunctioning, old laptop. “Plus, that’s an expense we shouldn’t spend right now.”
“But, you should have a computer that you can use for anything, right Mom?” Brad looked my way, using his eyes and smile to coax me to chime in, to play along.
“Yeah, Rud, you should have a working computer to keep in touch with the world, and especially with us. One with a camera so we can Skype.”
“Skype? What’s that?”
“Anyway, Dad, you do need a new computer. You really do,” Brad stated as he walked out of the room.

Within minutes Brad bounded back into the kitchen with outstretched arms and said, “Merry Christmas, Dad.”

That’s when Rudy’s eyes suddenly filled with tears.

“For you, Dad. From all of us.”

freeze frame

Two people.

A man.
And a woman.
Driving along.
In a racing green Jaguar.
A convertible.

He with his hair pulled back in a ponytail.
Loose strands whipping his face.

She with a brimmed red hat.
Tied under her chin.
Shading her porcelain skin.
Complementing her blue eyes.

The sun is shining.
A breeze is blowing.
As they drive along.
Down the wide open road.

Both laughing.

That image.
Is a memory.
I hold within my thoughts.

Of two people.

My dad.
And my mom.

Long ago.

My Dad, the Jag, and Me

I was first exposed to the idea of actually owning a convertible jaguar-xkewhen I was 10, or maybe I was 9 years old. It was the summer before fifth grade when my dad invited me to go with him on a road trip, in his racing green two-seater, low-to-the-ground JaguarXKE, to visit two of my older brothers in Prescott, Arizona.

To this day, I’ve never known why my dad asked me, child number 10 out of 11, to tag along with him. And I’ve never asked. Nor, have I ever complained.

The best memory from that trip is picture perfect, ingrained forever in my thoughts. We were driving down a stretch of highway, my semi-long, brown hair whipping at my face. Oh, boy was I loving it! I looked over at my dad, saw that his grey-ish ponytail was trying so hard to let loose, lashing about like a horse’s tail trying to swat a fly. “I love riding in this car!” I screamed, so he could hear me. “This is so fun!” My dad smiled at me, a knowing smile, as if to say, ‘Me, too. Me, too.’

I told my dad that when I grew up I was going to get a convertible, just like him. He gave me a brief speech about choosing a car. I listened intently, considering the guy was a college professor and was pretty much on-point about everything.

“A convertible isn’t for everyone,” he started. “A lot of people buy one just to look good, but then discover that they hate driving with the top down. They hate their hair getting messed up, and the blast of wind in their face. So, if you do find yourself ready to purchase a convertible someday, make sure you really want it.”

Years later, with much thought, and with a head full of my dear ‘ol dad, I bought my first convertible. And what a purchase it was! Of late, I am driving my second convertible. It’s exhilarating to lower the beige soft-top, press the accelerator, and whoosh!, let the wind whip my hair every-which-way.

I’m pretty sure my dad smiles down on me, quite often, watching me zooooooom along, wind in my face, satisfied.

Roberto William – Happy B-Day


A moment in time occurred twenty years ago. A moment never forgotten by Rudy. A memory instilled within his soul of days long ago when he used to drop Roberto off at kindergarten.

Their morning started off, as usual, with Rudy helping Roberto dress, and feeding him a hearty breakfast. Something like cold cereal or a PopTart.™

After sitting in the car, cruising along for a mile or so, listening to music and chatting about living the life of a five year old, Rudy would pull the red two-door Honda hatchback up to the curb, next to the chain link fence, and state Okay, Buddy, which was Roberto’s cue to climb out of the car and walk through the kindergarten gate about ten yards away.

Dad don’t leave yet, Roberto cheerfully commanded.

Rudy always waited until Roberto made his way onto the kinder playground then he’d drive off, heading to work for the day. Yet, on that particular day, for the very first time, Roberto made a request, telling Rudy to stay where he was, in the motor-running car. Suddenly, there was Roberto, backpack dropped to the ground in front of his feet, his teeny-tiny fingers entwined through the links of the fence.

I love you, and drive careful! Roberto yelled to him.

From that day on, this endearing ritual found a place in their private world.

And I love you, Bud, Rudy responded, giving Roberto a thumbs-up. Then Roberto would grab his school bag and run off to play.